Sunday, March 31, 2019

Review edit done, whew!

I'm not sure now why Lightroom says I took 11718 photos in NZ, and before it said 11698. I've now looked at every one of those photos for at least a fraction of a second. Some of them much more, scratching my head in some cases.

I've ended up editing 1563 of them, so far. There are some I want to come back to revisit the original edit. There are a whack of star shots I want to work on with the intent to build star trails or a time-lapse movie. Technically that will mean editing hundreds more photos, but the edit is a cookie cutter process where you do one, and it gets applied to all.

The two Art Deco fashion shows and car parade might get much the same treatment. None of those shots are compelling to me as photos, and I don't know of anyone that would want to wade through them. I you would like to see them, send me an email, and I'll send you a link to a google photos folder.

There are many more driftwood photos edited. As mentioned these will appear one a day till I run out. If you don't remember me saying so, all the driftwood photos are as found. Unlikely as the photo might be, I didn't touch the elements. Nor did I encourage someone to set it up for me.

This is Lyttelton during a late afternoon stroll.

Driftwood of the Day

Saturday, March 30, 2019

It's wine season again

It started late this year, since I couldn't go up to Red Deer to pick up the kits while in New Zealand. Normally I go up once the first several kits arrive, and take the camera with me on a scenic route. There's lots of scenic west of Calgary to Red Deer. One year I took a buddy which was lots of fun.

There has to be decent weather. The first weekend after the trip was good so I zoomed up. I was sad to learn that the owner of the store had recently passed away, but her daughter is carrying on. There are two reds on the go now, and I'll be starting a third soon. Then they'll do their thing for a few weeks, I'll get into a bottling cycle and start more. There are 8 kits to be made. I think I have enough glass, or will by the time I'm bottling the last couple batches.

Maybe by the time they are done, I'll be caught up on editing. The end is in sight. I think I was getting more tired as the trip went on. There's been a few more WTFWIT. There was one I'm glad I didn't blog and nobody will ever see it. Whew!

These busy bees are in the Wellington Botanical Garden. New Zealand bees are huge.

Driftwood of the Day
(Yesterday was the first day for this new feature.)
Still on Paekakariki or Paraparaumu beach.


I've been reflecting on chaos lately, and was inflicted with a small bit of it this morning. Before coffee even. Sigh.

Let me begin at the beginning, or sort of at the beginning. There have been times when large parts of the world were in complete chaos. Nobody knew what would happen next, or why or how the current state of affairs got that way. I'm thinking of The Black Death plague in the Middle Ages, or Spanish Flu in 1918. If you're one of the last people left alive in a town and you're pretty sure you're dying, you can be forgiven for thinking the world has come to an end.

Then there's large scale chaos where nobody knows what happens next, but have a pretty good grip on how we got there, though the why might not be clear. Big wars are like this. Who knew shooting one man would trigger WWI, and the handling of that leading nearly inevitably to WWII? To be fair, pre-WWI Europe was a powderkeg of interlocking alliances and tensions. Any number of events could have set it off.

Stability looks mostly like post-WWII Europe and North America. Orderly elections and transitions of government. Stable laws, with gradual change. In spite of politician hand-wringing and pearl clutching that electing their opposition means the end of the world, generally it just means more of the same. For most people, things gradually get better, though for some people, equality for others looks like a loss to them personally.

Then recently happened, and by that I mean the last decade or two. It's hard to set a starting point, but my general thinking is when politicians start promising to undo things, or blatantly favour one group over another, it's a sign that chaos is increasing.

What do we see now? The UK is mired in the Brexit mess, dragging in the whole EU with no apparent path out of the mess, let alone forward. Don't get me started on America and Trump. On a smaller scale Canada, has Trudeau, the Liberals, and the SNC mess before we've really even recovered from the Harper assault on our values. Australia is thrashing about with ministers resigning in a steady stream, but I'll be the first to say I don't understand it even slightly. New Zealand is currently obsessed with the recent terrorism incident, but there are some background political thrashing there too. They at least are getting gun control out of it, but nobody in the other situations is getting anything out of it, as near as I can tell. Meanwhile other important business is left unattended, and there is no shortage of other important business.

WTF? If you think like a BBC police procedural, who benefits from all this? I suppose that depends on your view of the world. While I love me a good conspiracy theory, I do NOT believe it's the Freemasons, or the Illuminati, or the Trilateral Commission, or any other secret group pulling the strings for it's own nefarious purposes. From there it's a short step to the alien lizards wearing people as skins, and building your own tinfoil helmet.

Nor do I believe that Putin or the Chinese leadership has instigated all this chaos to clear the space for their goals to proceed. It's probably helping them, but to say they masterminded it? That's back to the Freemasons and next you'll be wearing a tinfoil helmet.

The ROWG club (Rich Old White Guys) are a natural suspect. They are suspicious of anyone how isn't "one of us." No matter how much money they have, they want more, and mostly are pretty amoral about it. See the American Republican party as an example. They mostly benefit from this chaos, in a short term sense, much like the French aristocracy benefitted during the late 1700's, and the revolutionaries benefitted shortly after for a little while. I suspect we might be seeing another version of that series of events.

So what happened? If I knew for sure I'd be rich. Mostly it looks like an own goal all around. I think its a matter of the world being so complex now that there are always unintended consequences, no matter how carefully you investigate and plan and consult. For those who believe the world is as simple as a tweet, the consequences come much quicker. As trust gets used up by people doing stupid things and you start assuming the worst of other people, it gets harder and harder to do the right things. We've seen a lot of that.

As a side note, what would I do about Brexit? Cancel the whole mess by revoking article 50 and go back to the status quo where at least people know what the rules are. Then the Brexiteers can put forward a plan for getting out that learns from experience, and see what people think of it in a second referendum. A change this big needs a certain percentage of the eligible voters to cast a ballot (I'd say 75% is a minimum threshold) and to be enacted should take maybe a 2/3 majority. Yes, that's a high bar, but you're proposing huge changes. If the result is good then you shouldn't have any trouble.

What about this morning, you ask? Well, it's a continuation of Blogger comments. Sean was having difficulty commenting. He emailed me some comments, and apologized if I was seeing multiple copies. I had not. Blogger had been eating them.

Then I had my own difficulties. I tried copying the text from the email into the blog comment space. It ate them. I couldn't log into Blogger on that computer. MY OWN EFFING COMPUTER! I'd log in, and it's like it instantly forgot I had. I ended up copying the text to a notepad platform shared by all my computing devices, going onto the computer where the login worked (I don't know why and hope that doesn't change) and putting the comments there. The process involve several swear words.

So in case you missed it, Blogger hates comments from mobile platforms. Since they shut down Google+ the whole google accounts thing has been fraught, and the only way to comment on my blog through Blogger is to have a google account. I'm sorry about that, but I can't change it. You are welcome to email comments to me, or comment on Facebook, or text me, and I'll take care of it.

Here's a chaotic system. We were leaving our Queenstown house to go somewhere, and I had to stop to capture these clouds over The Remarkables.

And last, a new feature, Driftwood of the Day. I'm thinking this is going to be one photo per blog, but I started out with three, well, because. I wanted to get the first two out there, but they aren't part of what I think of as the driftwood series. The first two are mostly a tourist there I was shot, but I was at least trying to think about composition.

The series as envisioned are mostly close ups, trying to find interesting compositions on a small scale, looking at the wood grain, colour, textures, and whatever sand, rocks, metal, or vegetation might be nearby.

As you can probably tell from the rocks, this is Koekohe Beach, where the Moeraki Boulders live.

This is either Paekakariki or Paraparaumu beach. (You try saying either one 3x fast, or navigating by listening to Siri pronounce it, and looking for the appropriate sign, while driving on the left around roundabouts.) Given the time stamp I think the first. This is where I started noticing the textures of the wood, the grain, the subtle colours, and the interaction with the sand or gravel around them. Later some rocks got involved.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Spring appears to have happened

Funny thing being in the office, I hadn't noticed spring had happened. Flowers are starting to come up in the garden. Just starting. Linda has begun to clear out the winter guck.

In other news I've turned off anonymous blog comments for a while. I love getting comments, and it pisses me off the Blogger won't let people comment from mobile devices. For a long time I used to get a few anonymous spam comments a day. Many of them are amusing in a fractured English sort of way, so that was no big deal.

Just in the last week or so it's gone through the roof, and I'm temporarily sick and tired of it. You need a Google account to comment now, and I'm sorry about that too, because I don't know how you'd get such a thing, or why you would want it for anything besides commenting. Feel free to sent me an email, it's given in my profile. Which needs some updating. Or comment on Facebook and I'll copy it over.

Here we are on an unnamed beach. It's just before you get to Mahia Beach. In our case it was after we left, but maybe that's complicating things. It was just a short stroll after hitting the toilet and before a longish drive home. Yes, that's Linda in the distance. The sand is darker than it appears, and I could feel the heat through my shoes.

There was a ton of driftwood along the beach, though much of it was not as photogenic as I had hoped. I'm still working through photos, and considering how to deal with the driftwood shots. They are some of my favourite shots because of the texture and colour, but I can see where some of my readers will be bored. Maybe I'll start a driftwood of the day feature. Hmmmmmm.

This one below hadn't quite made it to the beach yet, and was still thrashing around in the surf. It's hard to tell, but this log is huge.

Weekend now. I think I'm settling into this work thing. Last week I was knackered by Thursday. This week I'm still feeling pretty good. Then again, I had done a deep dive trying to sort out some data, which I like doing, and realized there were some problems with the data tables. The first three tables were ok, though there was a subtle thing happening that was not optimal, but not not threatening either. But the join to the fourth was inadequate, and that's where the Cartesian product happened, for some of the rows. Fun times.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Yesterday evening I approached a man in a white coat and handed him a piece of paper with some squiggles on it. He looked it over, said he could do it, only take a few minutes to get ready. He bustled about doing his thing, and soon I was sitting there while he jabbed a needle into my shoulder.

Think about that for a few minutes. I trusted a stranger to stab me with a needle to inject a substance I know very little about into my body. Why?

Firstly, I don't want to get shingles. My former office roomie Jason had shingles in his eye. He said that it was the most painful thing that has happened to him in a long and adventurous life. It went on and on, and essentially took away a year of his life.

Secondly, to a large extent I trust the medical system. That guy in a white coat is a registered or licensed pharmacist. There is years of training, exams, standards. He was acting on the instructions of another guy in a white coat, my family doctor. There's even more training and exams. He is well up on the things that start going wrong with bodies as they get older. I'm of an age where I have to pay attention and get on things fast before they get out of hand.

Once you get shingles, the vaccine can't help you. I was wondering if I had had chicken pox as a kid, and I was assured I had. (Thanks mom!) The risks are low, but the consequence is high in my books. I have a limited amount of time left, and don't want to lose any of it to something preventable. A couple shots and a bit of money is cheap insurance.

Our entire society is built on a web of trusting strangers. It can be in a big complicated world like the medical system where mistakes can be fatal. It can be on the road where we essentially have our life in our hands, and in those of the people driving near us. That the person driving the bus will follow the route, and won't lie to us about which stop is closest to our destination. That we can shuffle money around via plastic cards and invisible instructions. That the airplane will fly and the pilots are competent. That our food is grown, harvested, transported, and sold in sanitary conditions. It goes on and on.

To some extent this happens because of government standards, or industry standards put forward under government regulation. My massage therapist has a certificate on the wall, several of them actually, that she has undergone some number of hours of training. That number wasn't plucked out of thin air, there is a reason for it. Our elected officials have set up a system where people knowledgable in the field can set the standards.

Does this cost money? Of course it does! Some people running for elected office talk about over-regulation, and red tape, and administrative overhead, and how they want to cut costs by cutting all that out.

There is almost certainly some waste and over-regulation in the system. I mean, does it really matter if a massage therapist has to meet a certain standard? Maybe so, if you feel vulnerable about being mostly undressed in a small room with a stranger. Now think about what you eat, and the various meat recalls that happened because the inspection staff was cut to save money. Or Walkerton and the water inspection staff. In my books that is major league stupid.

So my arm is a bit sore right now, which is what the guy in the white coat said would happen. A small price to pay.

Linda got all excited by the sheep she discovered in Hastings.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Not your typical tourist vacation photo

This is Ocean Beach. I loved it. We went there twice. It's amazing how interesting sand and water can be, at least I think so.

So not your typical vacation photo, but I was trying for something else entirely. Interesting to you? Why or why not? Don't just blow on by, take a moment to follow the lines.

I've been thinking about my photos a lot lately. How could I not be? So far you've been getting lots of the 'so there we were and this is what it looks like' shots. There are a few artistic shots in there, but there's a bunch in the hopper.

I think I'm going to start separating out photos a bit on the blog. There's still lots of photos I want to show you, and tell stories about, but there are some that I think about a bit more, or that capture my attention each time I look at them. Some I was trying to be artistic and maybe I succeeded or not. Some I was trying to capture the play of light on the subject, and maybe I succeeded but mostly not.

So rather than scrolling through a bunch of photos, there might be just the one. Eventually the very best will show up on my photo blog. Still thinking about that.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Still editing, here's some Milford Sound

Found this one, and can't imagine why I didn't edit it when I first saw it. As you probably guessed from the floatation device, this was Milford Sound.

Here's some more from Milford Sound. Some of them might look similar to others, but the lighting changes, and there were photos taken on the way out and back, and the boat was on opposite sides of the sound. We had a perfect day for the tour, with sunny skies. The water wasn't quite glass calm for reflections, but that happens once in a blue moon.

Let's just say there were lots of waterfalls and leave it at that.

Don't just look at the waterfall, look at the trees.

There's another waterfall shot I want to play with more. It's looking really cool now, but I'm only part way to the effect I want.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Two days in a row??

I hope you didn't miss me. That's the first time I've taken two days away from the blog in a long time. It's been a busy week and I was dragging my tail by Thursday.

Still, the pool called me Friday morning. 250 m 4:50, which is a bit off the pace, but my left arm isn't totally with the program yet. Not going to push it. I was chatting with a buddy in the hot tub, telling me about the new pool at Seton. Sounds like they don't have it all figured out yet, but several of the swim clubs have lane space there, so maybe Repsol won't be so crowded in the morning.

Except that won't be a problem for me much longer. My membership expires late April, and my work contract is over end of May. I might buy another month, then when I retire again I'll probably swim at Canyon Meadows pool again.

My leg is still cranky even after a massage and some rest, but the physio clinic I dropped in on was closed today. That was a surprise, so I guess it's Monday after work.

It's all part of the longer recovery time, I guess. I have to admit that right now running again seems like a big goal, to say nothing of getting back on the bike. Maybe the pysio will bring things around again, and that will be nice. But it has me thinking about doing triathlons. Or rather, what happens if I'm not doing them any more? There's a bunch of equipment that's been gathering dust, including a sweet ride that deserves to be out on the road a lot more. I think I'll see how things go over the next little while, but if I'm not back to a regular swim bike run routine by summer time, I'll have to think seriously about holding a sale.

In other news I'm still chewing away on the photo backlog. The nights with the star shots take the longest.

Here's another view of the steampunk museum, with a couple of the displays I really liked. You can see more here and here.

Back in Dunedin one of the more dramatic sunsets happened, along with what passes for a skyline shot.

During one museum visit I learned that a Canadian representative signed the surrender documents that ended WWII. Colonel Lawrence Vincent Moore Cosgrave was the Canadian Military Attache to Australia, for the South West Pacific Area. Hands up, how many of you knew that? I certainly didn't.

Because he was blind in one eye from a WWI injury, he signed on the wrong line on the Japanese copy of the documents, leaving the New Zealand rep to sign in the margins.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Should have removed my hat

One of the few photos of both of us. We relied on the kindness of strangers that were not intimidated by the camera. It was only after that I realized I should have removed my hat. Tell me straight, just how dorky do I look in it?

One of Linda to refresh your visual palette. Or something. Linda has many fans. Both of these were at Larnach Castle.

In other news I have not taken a photo since leaving New Zealand. It's the longest I've been without a camera in my hands since, well, I bought one. What with editing existing photos, work, trying to stay caught up on sleep, trying to teach my left arm to swim again, taking more photos has been pushed further back in line.

That whole swim thing. I was doing really well before I left. Two months out of the pool, carrying heavy camera equipment, lots of walking, and my swim is essentially non existent. My left arm sort of goes around, but there is no pull. I was in the dive tank a bit today, trying to stretch it and get it used to working again, with inconclusive results. I'm afraid to try to time myself.

Don't even ask about running, or biking. Not even close.

In fact, I'm beginning to think seriously the time has come to sell all my triathlon equipment. Yes, including my beloved Estela. If I'm not going to be riding her anymore, and it's looking less likely all the time, I should find a good home for her. We already have enough stuff gathering dust. So if you're about 6 feet tall or so, looking for a carbon fibre road bike and lots of associated accessories, like a wetsuit, get in touch with me.

And for all the people that doubt me when I saw we had a beautiful sunny day for our Milford Sound tour, here's proof.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The oldest unblogged NZ photos

I got asked yesterday about the photos I haven't blogged yet, and why. Volume. There's just so many. Even ruthlessly cutting down on what gets edited still produces a huge pile of photos. I'm thinking about ways to organize them, or group them to support stories.

This was during a walk along a green space beside a motorway. I was liking the shape of the tree against the sky. This is one of the recurring themes of the photos from NZ, a tree against a background, trying to make it stand out, or show how the light was falling on it. This one is a failure in that regard.

Part of the Auckland Botanical Gardens, trying for a geometric shot.

Same gardens, trying for art. You there, I can see you rolling your eyes.

The light was doing interesting things, except the camera didn't see it in these next couple shots.

At this point I was still taken with ferns and pretty flowers.